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The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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CNN

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02:00:00

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Annapolis, MD, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Port 1234

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mpeg2video

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mp2

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720

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Libya 50, Gadhafi 37, U.s. 26, Us 24, United States 20, Npr 15, Zawiya 13, Tripoli 10, Moammar Gadhafi 9, John Mccain 9, Nato 7, Peter King 7, Charlie Sheen 6, New York 6, Benghazi 6, Philadelphia 6, Clinton 6, Egypt 5, America 5, Cnn 5,
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  CNN    The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    March 9, 2011
    5:00 - 7:00pm EST  

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mug shot. he had it -- had the smile as he walked in. got a lot more hair now than you see in the mug shot. it's been growing out, and then on the way out, he smiled from ear to ear and if the clerk asked if he was jared lee loughner, he said in a cheery voice, yes, that's me. not all there. at least that's what the judge believes. >> ted rowlands, thank you for the hustle in tucson. and now we go to wolf blitzer in washington. wolf? >> happening right now, moammar gadhafi warns a no-fly zone over libya would be an act of conspiracy and aggression, his words. i'll talk to an influential advocate for military action in libya, republican senator john mccain. and new fuel for acquisitions that congressman peter king is a hypocrite on this, the eve of investigations of radical muslims in the united states. this hour, the new york republican defends himself and describes how 9/11 changed his life. and saw catholics in
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philadelphia are getting a horrible surprise at church on this ash wednesday. they are finding out if their priest has been suspended in one of the biggest sexual abuse scandals yet. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." right now, moammar gadhafi and his loyal troops are trying to choke off libyan rebels any way they can. pro-gadhafi fighters launching fresh attacks on opposition forces today, and the regime is offering a reward, almost half a million u.s., for the capture of a top opposition figure. we have new cnn video coming in from ras lanuf where rebels with fighting to hold their ground. government troops are using planes and heavy artillery to try to retake the eastern oil city. in the western city of zawiya, libyan television showed
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government supporters cheering in the streets today, but there are now unconfirmed reports that rebels have retaken the main square there. after days of heavy fighting, it's almost impossible to get through to anyone in zawiya for any independent confirmation of what's going on there. today gadhafi is also sending a new warning to the united states and its allies as they consider imposing a no-fly zone over libya. he promises that all libyans will fight back against what he calls an act of aggression and an attempt to control libya's oil. >> translator: it will be clear aggression. it will also be clear that the intentions are to control libya's oil, choke libya's liberty, land and people. all of the libyans carry weapons so they will fight back. >> let's bring in our senior international correspondent nic robertson in tripoli. i know that you had a ride, you were going out to zawiya with some libyan government officials. what happened?
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>> reporter: wolf, we got turned back about two miles down the road. that seems to be that the oil minister was going to speak to the journalists back at the hotel, and the news he had was that libya's oil output has been cut by half and wanted to address some of the issues about the explosions in ras lanuf at the oil facility there, so it got turned around and got put back on again. but we were told that there's no point in us going there in the middle. night. it will be too dark and won't be able to see anything, and it's far better to go in the morning. it's not clear if we'll get to go at first daylight, but that's -- we told them if we're going to see and get a good analysis of what's actually happening there. >> as of right now, we don't know if the rebels have retaken zawiya or if gadhafi forces are in control of that important town. >> reporter: well, once again, the gadhafi had the pro-gadhafi demonstrators nanching up and
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down and singing with their green flags. this time there right outside zawiya. we've seen them from the highway that runs around the city there, not actually in the center where the rebels control it. where the rebels control it in the center of the city the buildings there were five, six, seven, eight floors high. the area where the demonstrators have been is a much lower level so it's not clear to us that state television is trying to promote a message that the government is in control. it's not clear to us that they do have a presence in the center of the city or even what the rebels are doing there right now. we just know from most recent reports that the rebels were taking and getting a very hard time, two doctors killed yesterday, was one report, two medical clinics, at the last medical clinic the rebels shut down yesterday, wolf. >> how worried are gadhafi allies in the government there that international countries around the world, some of them, critical ones, are thinking of recognizing the opposition
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leaders in benghazi, the second largest city in libya, as the real, the official true government of the new libya, the new libya? >> reporter: yeah. the government is getting really frustrated. the deputy foreign minister told me just last night that they are really frustrated, told me again tonight as well, still really frustrated. still haven't had their nominated ambassador to the u.n. recognized and fact-finding missions from britain, france, germany, holland to come here and see if there have been any aerial bombardments of civilians and find out if there's massacres and try to answer the allegations going against the regime here. they are struggling and they are now sending out their own sort of fact-finding representative, a secretary of state and lisbon and portugal, going to greece and malta, so you -- you get the impression here that the government really recognizes the heat that's coming down on it and the biggest worry is that
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there could be a no-fly zone imposed which really has accelerated the thinking on their efforts to try to retake the east. they need the air power there. they don't have to have it but it will make things much easier, much quicker so it's accelerating their efforts there, wolf. >> stand by, nic. nic is in tripoli and now an exclusive interview with the opposition figure who has a bounty on his head right now, a bounty order by moammar gadhafi. let's go to cnn's arwa damon, how did the meeting that you had with the opposition leader go, arwa? >> reporter: well, wolf, it went fairly well, and as you mentioned there mr. mustafa abdel jalil, the head of the newly formed national council, also incidentally the former minister of justice under gadhafi, does now have a bounty on his head that amounts to just over $400,000 u.s. for any information that would lead -- sorry, for his capture and any information that would lead to his capture going for $164,000.
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we spoke to a source close to the national council who said that this was an unfortunate tactic that gadhafi was resorting, to but it did, however, raise the risk factor. mr. jalil himself very concerned about the lack of the international community stepping up and taking action, and we asked him what would happen if the international community either didn't take action or took another one to two weeks to make up its mind. >> translator: it has to be immediate action. the longer the situation carries on, the more blood is shed. that's the message that we want to send to the international community. they have to live up to their responsibility with regards to this. >> reporter: and those are responsibilities that people here say does line what kind of choice the international community should make. we asked mr. jalil how long his fighters could withstand the ongoing air bomb campaign against them, the fact that they
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are heavily underarmed when it comes to what they are facing, he said if they had a lot of will and spirit but realistically speaking they don't have the ammunition or means without international help to last forever, especially not against the arsenal that gadhafi has at his knees, the international community does in fact have to make a choice here and if they choose inaction, that would be tantamount to siding wi siding with gadhafi themselves. >> they want to be recognized as the official opposition government and did the former justice minister make any direct appeal to the president of the united states? >> reporter: he most certainly has, wolf. he told us that a week ago they sent a letter directly to president barack obama, that they received a response saying that the u.s. was trying to work on a resolution in the u.n. we do know that there is community between the u.s. and
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some opposition leaders, but the bottom line is they want to see much more being done and they do in fact peel as if the u.s. and international community can do more. they firmly believe that they have the means at their disposal to bring about an end to what people feel is a massacre, one that is only going to get worse as long as the international community drags its feet. the first involvement they would want to see is this no-fly zone being built into police and they feel that would greatly help in terms of leveling the battle field and they do feel the u.s. and international community, a very significant responsibility. many people telling us that the longer the international community waits, the longer the attacks continue, the bloodshed continues. they say that that is blood on world leaders' hands. wolf? >> arwa damon in benghazi for us. we'll all be hearing from john mccain shortly. i think the opposition is going to be very happy to hear what john mccain has to say about all these issues. stand by for that interview.
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we saw a chaotic scene in tripoli when moammar gadhafi showed up at the hotel in tripoli where journalists are staying. only a handful of leaders have gone to the libyan leader since the uprising began two weeks ago. a french journalist spoke with gadhafi on monday. katherine, thanks for joining us. did he seem normal or crazy? >> reporter: well, the interesting thing is that colonel gadhafi, contrary to our expectations, seemed rather soft spoken and quite polite and lucid during the interview. we had been prepared for some outbursts that we had seen in the past and he was in a calmer mood but the whole experience was very surreal indeed. we had been planning to interview colonel gadhafi for
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several days, contacting all the members of the press team here for the libyan government and then suddenly one night we got a knock on our door and they said you have to come straight away. we got our things together and within a few minutes we were rushed into this palace behind tripoli's green square and rather quickly the leader and his entourage came, and it was quite a surreal experience but yes he was much calmer than you might expect. >> did you get any sense that this is a guy that is ready to fight for the death or maybe down the road he could leave libya and save his life? >> reporter: well, the sense i got in the interview is he is going to fight until the death and he told us and i questioned him, a long time, about 15 minutes myself, and i asked him if he would leave interview as many people thought he should do so and he said absolutely not. where would he go and libya is
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this country and he repeated the line and said i don't have a post to step down from. he can't go anywhere and can't resign and he said he'll stay in libya with the death and he said outright no immediate capital gains taxes. >> the opposition forced, the rebels, people demonstrating and taking control of benghazi and other cities in libya, they are all on drugs and they have been given certain pills. they don't know what they are doing. they are part of al qaeda, he says. did he repeat all of those allegations to you on sunday? absolutely. that was very much the line that he was still coming out and in fact, about the message he wanted to pass away during our interview, all people were going against his rule and he must have said al qaeda 15 or 20
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times in the interview with me. he said these are al qaeda. al qaeda sleeper cell operating in the country which he hadn't been aware of and he actually called for the west to show more support and solidarity with him, with libya in fight is these al qaeda fighters, and that was quite a surreal experience but that was the line he was sticking to and not budging from that. >> nick kristof wrote about that last week in the "new york times" when he invited female journalists back in the '80s and '90s and well known for propositioning them after granting them interviews. was he flirting with you and invite you to join him in his bmw as you were leaving the hotel? i knows it's an awkward question but i knows that this has been raised as he was often doing this to female journalists. >> reporter: he did behave properly towards me. gentlemanly at times. didn't have any untoward
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propositions, very courteous and didn't get any special treatment, as it, as a female journalist but it's interesting how much pros imwe can get to colonel gadhafi. went out in green square and waved to the crowd and all the time just a few centimeters away from him and climbing up on this wall in green square and with him when he got in the car and the security levels were quite interesting, actually, not what you would expect from a head of state or not from a leader in his position at the moment. >> just getting this in from the bbc, cat rip, and let me know if you know anything about it. the bbc is now reporting that three of their journalists in libya were detained and held up by gadhafi forces, beaten up pret pretty goodly. do you know anything about it? >> i have reports.
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as you know, all the western journalists invaded into tripoli by the libyan authorities are being holed up in this rather luxurious hotel and that's one way of controlling the movement and i heard about journalist being detained and that was trying to get a lot of interest to the town of zawiya. the battle keeps raging there and people are pushing there and trying to record there and it's a very hazardous thing to do. several teams with security problems and we've heard of several journalists being detained by security forces, even having rough treatment at times. >> larry: thanks very much for joining us. we'd like to invite you back, if that's okay. >> reporter: that would be great. >> all right. thanks very, very much, and be careful over there in tripoli. all right. the u.s. can spend billions and billions on war, can the country
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as all of our viewers know, government spending is always a concern of jack cafferty. he's here and has "the cafferty file." >> americans have become alarming dependant on handouts from uncle sam, according to a new study. government welfare programs like social security, medicare, medicare, unemployment insurance, made up 35% of all public and private wages and salaries last year. more than one-third of all the money americans earn. these findings are contained in a study of government data done by trim tabs investment research. in 2000, 21% of all wages and salaries in the united states came from social welfare programs. in 1960, 10%. one of the economists at trim tab says that we are in for some difficult times ahead unless this country can get back to at least the 26% level it had before this big recession started. and she says there's only two ways to do that, either increase
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private sector wages and salaries by 35%, or cut social welfare benefits by nearly a quarter. well, neither one of those things is likely to happen. social security, medicare, medicaid, so-called entitlement programs, make up more than 60% of federal spending every year, and as the baby boomers get older now and begin to retire and begin to need more medical care, the costs for those programs will only go higher, sharply higher. while the squabbling over budget cuts for this fiscal year continues in washington, you can be sure that no one is touching these programs. that $60 billion of spending cuts that passed the house last month did not touch one dime of any of these three programs. and as evidence continues to mount that this country is hurtling towards an economic disaster, our government refuses to respond in any meaningful way. here's the question. what does it mean if social welfare benefits make up more than one-third of all wages and
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salaries paid in the united states? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. wolf? >> thank you. an independent republican group is launching a new tv ad that takes aim at union and support for president obama and the democratic party. the spot bounces off the budget crisis in wisconsin, accusing democrats of shutting down state capitols to protect union workers. crossroads gps is spending $750,000 to air the ad on cable news channels, including right here hon cnn. the group is part of american crossroads, an organization that was a major player in electing republicans in november. a new poll finds americans are most likely to favor cutting back on programs as a way to balance the budget in their state. the gallup poll shows 65% of those surveyed support state cutbacks and 62% say it's okay to reduce the number of state workers. the survey shows americans are divided on whether to limit union bargaining power, cuts in state's workers pay and new
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taxes are far less popular options. one day after an npr executive was caught on tape calling the tea party movement racist, the network ceo now making a major announcement. you're going to hear it right after the break. and look at the space shuttle landing because you'll never see it again. we're going to tell you why. stay with us. you're in "the situation room."
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and get a free gift. walgreens. there's a way to stay well. lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now including new unrest in egypt. what's going on? >> yeah, wolf. it was a scary scene in cairo. demonstrators armed with machetes, knives, molotov cocktails and horse whips reportedly attacked hundreds of pro-democracy protesters in tahrir square. gunfire was also heard during the melee. opposition activists identified the armed protesters as gangs loyal to remnants of hosni mubarak's regime. they say at least 44 people were hurt. here in washington, the ceo of national public radio is stepping down. an npr spokeswoman would not confirm reports that vivian shiller was forced out but her resignation comes one day after npr fund-raiser, ron shiller, no
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relation to vivian, was seen an an undercover video calling the tea party racist and questioning whether npr needs federal funding. he apologized and said his previously announced resignation would be effective immediately. and the space shuttle do havery has returned to earth permanently. "discovery" wrapped up its final mission today with a picture-perfect landing at kennedy space center in florida. the shuttle logged more than 148 million miles in orbit during 39 flights. wolf? >> good for them. >> yeah, two more -- looks like two more shuttle missions. >> the astronauts are not only brilliant and strong but also courageous. >> yes, they are. >> i admire them. your tax dollars at work. a look at a splashy new building in washington called the institute for peace and why some lawmakers don't want to pay for it and congressman peter king is known as a modern day joe mccarthy. opening up to our own dana bash as he prepares for a hearing
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tomorrow that has enrage the many muslims.
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the outrage has been building for days and now congressman peter king is less than 24 hours away from holding hearings on the radicalization
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of muslims and the new york republican is defending himself against republicans that he's on a witch-hunt. he spoke with our political correspondent, dana bash. >> reporter: visit peter king in his office, and you are overwhelmed by how much the new york congressman is consumed by september 11th. his office is filled with reminders of the attack. >> funeral after funeral, and that one, to me captured it all. if you ask what i think about going to work every day, it's 9/11. i'm preventing another 9/11. >> king says that requires cooperation from american muslim leaders which he insists law enforcement is not getting. down the hall in his committee room, king tells us that's why he's holding a controversial hearing on the radicalization of muslims in america. >> there are elements within that community who are being radicalized, and i believe that the leadership, too many of the leaders in the muslim community do not face up to that reality and a number of -- too many cases are not cooperative. >> this is the chairman's seat.
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this is chairman's gavel. >> reporter: yeah, the whole bit right here, where it's going to be. >> reporter: to some king's focus on muslim radicals is akin to joe mccarthy's 1950s witch-hunt. peter king is the modern day joseph mccarty. >> i would say, first of all, there's no basis for it and secondly i would tell people to wait and watch and listen to the hearing. >> reporter: king has not always been at odds with muslim-americans. in the 1990s he backed u.s. action in the balkans to defend muslims there. >> i was not popular in my district but i did it because it was the right thing to do. i thought the muslim community in those countries is being victimized. >> reporter: he had a close bond with leaders of this mosque and others in his new york district. then came 9/11. >> it switched when i saw the muslim-american community not responding the way they should have, when they were trying to cover up for al qaeda, trying to blame it on jews and the fbi and cia, i couldn't believe what i was hearing. >> reporter: like comments from now former friends like ghazi
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khankan. >> we should also investigate the possibility of israel being involved, and that changed his opinion 100%. >> reporter: but some call king's efforts against american-muslim tristsz now hypocritical. king is irish-american. in the 1980s he was an active supporter of gerry adams in a group that the group that was determined terrorist, the irish republican army. >> reporter: the i.r.a. was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. >> i knew what gerry adams and martin mcginnis were doing within the i.r.a. and saying that continually that there's a real opening here, if the united states would take advantage of it to be an honest broker. bill clinton did that. >> reporter: he insists engaging the i.r.a. was instrumental to peace and says this. >> the i.r.a. was a legitimate force, been there for 100 years, 60 years, 30 years, any way you want to look at it.
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>> reporter: king says he knows his hearing on radicalization of u.s. muslims is stirring anger against him, accusations of bigotry, but has no apologies. >> listen, i would love to be loved. you know, i'm not a masochist, but on the other hand i have a job to do and would i not want to wake up the day after an attack and say i should have done something differently. >> reporter: again, what king says that's driving him and concerns him the most are reports that he gets from his friends in the law enforcement community who tell him that muslim leaders in america are not cooperating with them to disrupt plots. well, eric holder, the attorney general of the united states, just spoke to reporters, wolf, and said that he disagrees, that he has personally seen evidence where muslim leaders have come forward to give tips to disrupt plots, that they were successful at doing. i talked to king by phone a few minutes ago and he said that his personal experience is that in private he is told that that is still not the case, not getting the help, not to the degree they should get and interesting, he actually admitted that that's
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why he's not inviting eric holder and other top law enforcement officials to his hearing because he says they will dispute what he says and what he believes because he's told that in private. >> doesn't he think it's important to hear from the top law enforcement officer of the united states? >> reporter: i asked him that question so many times, and his answer was effectively, in this particular hearing, he is going to have what he calls real muslims, and we should note that most of them who are coming on his invitation are those who have had relatives who are radicalized or those who agree with his point of view. he was pretty candid just now on the phone. eric holdler not say what he believes to be true so he's not going to have him at his hearing. >> live coverage tomorrow on cnn. dana, thanks very much for that. a voice of experience says an attack on moammar gadhafi's forces is doable, but there could be a lot of problems. he knows. he's done it before, and we'll find out where gadhafi's fight to retake the tower at ras lanuf stands right now.
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a new building dedicated to peace whose critics say it's government waste. lisa sylvester is back and is looking into the story for us. tell us what's going on here. >> this is a group many may not have heard of before. the institute of peace was set up by congress in 1984 during the reagan administration. it is not a think tank, and it
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is funded entirely by congress. the organization is now moving into the splashy new building that was paid for mostly with taxpayer dollars and that has the attention of lawmakers who are questioning whether the group and its new headquarters are actually a waste of money. retired marine general anti-any zinny describes the institute of peace as the special forces for foreign affairs and peacekeeping in an op-ed. general david petraeus has written letters underscoring the importance of the u.s. institute of peace to the missions of the united states. the institute, non-partisan and mandated by congress, is positioned in the world's hot spots, including iraq and afghanistan. its mission is to broker peace deals between warring tribes, help to brick together humanitarian groups overseas and prevent conflicts before they happen. but some congressional lawmakers have a different view. they see the organization as a waste of money, an example of a bloated government. >> the united states institute of peace is clearly one of those
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opportunities where we cite redundancy and say we don't know somebody competing in essence with the state department. >> reporter: house voted to defund the group eliminating $42 million as part of broader budget cuts, arguing it's basically a think tank that the private sector could operate. the u.s. institute of peace has been a target of fiscal hawks, especially over its new building, 150,000 square feet. it costs $180 million to build, $100 million of that is taxpayer money, but defenders of the institute of peace say this is more than a building with a dove positioned at the top. they say it is a symbol of peace. the institute's president defends the organization arguing it is not redundant with the state department, that its small size makes it more efficient getting things done on the ground. >> we can demonstrate that we have saved lives and saved money on the ground. for example, in iraq, we were brought in by the tenth mountain
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division to help negotiate between various tribes. it was called the triangle of death, and before we were there, there was frankly a wholesale slaughter. after we were there, when we facilitated these negotiations with the army, the fatality rate went to basically zero. no other organization could do what we did there. >> the fight between the fiscal hawks and the house of representatives and the doves in the institute of peace now heads to the senate. now, the group has a list of supporters, former secretary of states mad line albright and george shultz and national security adviser stephen hadley. >> odd couple, jason chaffetz, anthony weiner, liberal democrat from new york. they both oppose this. they have teamed up on this and it's a little unusual. some people see anthony weiner, is he on board, and he's a
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responsor of the house bill to cut that funding. >> we'll watch to see what happens. it's a magnificent building right near the state department. >> yeah. can you see the aerials, but that's part of the whole debate because some people say that's a lot nicer of the building for the institute of peace than it is for the state department. >> thanks very much. moammar gadhafi's rants, accusations and conspiracy theories, so what's behind them? we're going inside the mind of the libyan dictator, and senator john mccain pushes hard for a no-fly zone in libya. we'll speak with him. le announc] sometimes you need tomorrow to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between, there's motrin pm. no other medicine, not even advil pm, is more effective for pain and sleeplessness. motrin pm. but basically, i'm a runner. last year. (oof). i had a bum knee that needed surgery. but it got complicated, because i had an old injury. so i wanted a doctor who had done this before. and unitedhealthcare's database
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gadhafi has given the world good reason to believe he's unstable, that he's brutal, possibly delusional. we asked our own brian todd to take a closer look into his mind. i know you're speaking with experts. what are you learning? >> well, wolf, moammar gadhafi gave a speech that was aired today in libya where he again tried to rally supporters and get those who have defected to come back into the fold. he played into their fears, made threats and talked of conspiracies and the rants reflect a man already unstable and is under immense pressure. moammar gadhafi stays in character, on libyan state tv he tells followers their country is being targeted by al qaeda, that during this conflict operatives from places like algeria, pakistan and egypt have swooped in and carried out a diabolical plot on libya's youth >> translator: by offering them pills, machine guns and making
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them destroy everything. they have recruited young sons and told them they are going to heaven. ? >> reporter: what is he trying to say? >> really inconceivable to gadhafi, that quote, they don't all love me, my people love me and anyone against him must have been sent in by outside agents. >> reporter: dr. gerald post thinks that gadhafi really believes that. post founded the cia's psychological profiling unit and now directs the political psychology program at george washington university. he's profiled gadhafi before and help takes us inside the dictator's mind, dissecting statements like this. >> translator: they want to take your petrol. this is what america, this is what the french, the colonialists want. >> reporter: he's playing the oil card. why is he doing that? >> one of his more remarkable statements was that the west wants to recolonize libya in order to gain control of your petrol. well, this was, after all, how he came to power, that the west had dominated libya.
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were taken vital essence in its petrol, so now he's appealing to his followers for the freedom he brought to them from western domination. >> reporter: based on his research, dr. post believes gadhafi's on the border of insanity. he's previously done profiles of kim jong-il, saddam hussein, iran's mahmoud ahmadinejad, and venezuela's hugo chavez. you've done profiles on some of the most notorious people who ever lived, and how do you compare this guy? >> this is one of the more emotionally disturbed leaders that i have profiled, and -- and part of what is confusing about him is that borderline aspect where often he can behave in rational ways and can get carried away. two circumstances he gets carried away under. a, when he's succeeding and, b, when he's failing. wouldn't seem to leave too much territory, but right now he's under massive, massive pressure.
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>> reporter: post says gadhafi is getting more isolated, and in those circumstances he says gadhafi's visceral response is to strike out against superior force and show his bravery which is why he's saying america and the european powers are interfering in libya. wolf, we can expect more of this in the coming days. >> i assume your wife. thanks very much. pentagon chiefs are warning allied forces would have to attack libya to impose a no-fly zone. we'll hear about it from someone who has been there, and a new way to steel your home against powerful storms. >> reporter: would you have any doubts about being up in this attic during a tornado? >> no, none whatsoever. wrench? wrench. basic. preferred. at meineke i have options on oil changes. and now i get free roadside assistance with preferred or supreme. my money. my choice. my meineke.
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lisa is back and monitoring some of the other top stories in that's right, wolf. former house speaker newt gingrich told supporters he hopes to formally announce a presidential bid in late may in front of philadelphia's independence hall. he asked the group to help him build momentum for the event on the internet and through local media. president obama is poking fun at persisting questions about where he was born. he joked about the so-called birther debate at a democratic fund-raiser in boston last night. the president said, quote, there's no weakness in us trying to reach out and find common ground, but there are times when we can't. i was born in hawaii, he said, and what can i say, i can't change those facts.
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and move over tina fey. hbo announced julianne moore will play sarah palin in an upcoming film about the 2008 presidential election. it's based on the best selling book "game change" detailing the inner works of the campaign. hbo and cnn both owned by time warner. that should be a fascinating movie. >> excellent book. i hope it will be a good movie. hbo does good work so i assume it will be. severe weather is battering the southern united states for the fourth time in less than two weeks. heavy rain, thunderstorms, flash flood warnings, and at least one confirmed tornado in mississippi. another apparent tornado in alabama is described as 30 seconds of pure hell. tom foreman went to arkansas to check out a new line of defense against twisters and powerful storms. steel homes. >> up here we can really see the difference. >> right.
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because you have structural steel. >> the frame is not made of wood but of steel. >> this is an eye beam. >> john is the president of kodiak steel homes. despite the economic downturn, despite they can cost up to 5% more than usual, folks like charlie are snagging them up. >> maybe spend more now, but it's going to pay for it in the end. this home is not going nowhere. >> other companies make steel homes but not many. john is proud to say his can withstand 140 miles an hour winds for four hours. >> tom is joining us now from oklahoma city. steel homes will be pretty sturdy. i suspect a lot of folks will need those. >> there's a lot of excitement about this out here. they cost about 5% more than a normal home would cost generally. it sort of depends on the model you pick out. no building is tornado proof, but because of that ability a
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lot of people are excited about the idea saying year after year after year we have so much property damage. we have loss of lives. this is something people believe could be a solution for some people as we have looked around at people trying to find ways to build up their communities, good for the construction industry because of the different type of home homes. >> thanks very much. more expensive. you get what you pay for. what does it mean if social welfare benefits make up more than one-third of all wages and salaries paid in the united states? jack coming up with your e-mail. and pro-gadhafi forces hammering rebels right now struggling to hold onto an eastern oil city. now those rebels are making an urgent plea to the rest of the world.
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here's a lock at stunning pictures from india today. rebel forces clashed with forces loyal to gadhafi. across the city anti-regime fighters take cover while battling on the front line. on the tunisian border, guest workers fleeing violence tote their belongings through a
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displacement camp. hot shots. pictures worth a thousand words. let's go to jack with the cafferty file. >> the last picture reminds me of the shots, remember when they drove zam autoof the gulf war? it took months to put all those out. the question this hour is what does it mean if social welfare benefits make up more than one-third of all the wages and salaries paid in the united states. mike says what's shocking to me about how you phrase is question is you fail to include all the hand outs to businesses, especially the large corporations, trade associations and development commissions among other entities that all get subsidiesubsidies. silvia in san diego writes it means we're a welfare nation. in order to recover from the economic disaster, it will be painful for many people.
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larry in ohio says it means those jobs need to be done by the americans that refuse to do them if they're able. otherwise we need to stop paying people not to work. now the rich make money and don't pay taxes. the poor don't make money. they get poverty credits. patsy writes i'm certainly no authority, but how can social security be classified as a handout when people who draw on it are the same people who used their salary to pay into it? it's money earned but saved. the government should never have borrowed on it in the first place. technically they weren't supposed to. if left alone to earn interest, there would be more money there now. nancy in tennessee, the answer lies in increasing wages and salaries in the private sector by 35%. it boils down to jobs. americans are hurting.
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that translate to american economy hurting as well. rick writes it means we're a socialist nation whether we like it or not. bob says it means i'm in the wrong job. if you want to read more go to my blog at cnn.com/caffertyfile. wolf? >> thank you. to the viewers, you're in "the situation room." pro-gadhafi forces stepping up pressure on the libyan rebels in what could be a turning point in this civil war. our corespondents are in the battle zone right now. rebels plead for the u.s. and others to set up a no-fly zone over libya. we'll hear from a veteran of the 1986 u.s. air strikes against gadhafi on what's involved and i'll speak to senator john mccain this hour. he's pushing for u.s. military action. plus, fresh fallout from the conservative activist sting operation against npr, national public radio. the network makes a stunning announcement. breaking news, political
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headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." arizona the libyan civil war reached a turning point as moammar gadhafi's military goes on the offensive in western libya, the poorly organized rebels are finding themselves in a tough position. he says the rebels' hold in ras lanuf is looking tenuous. here's his report. >> reporter: the wounded keep oncoming. ambulance after ambulance wails up to the emergency ward at the only hospital. the normally cocky opposition fighters showing the strain of a battle in which they are seriously outgunned. the spirits severely challenged by the libyan government forces
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artillery, rockets and aircraft. >> the situation is very bad. >> how many wounded? >> more than 25. just now. >> it's not clear how much longer these largely inexperienced fighters can hold on. the ever present threat from air strikes forcing them to run for cover. he left his clothing store in benghazi to carry a surface to air missile. he knows he has little chance of hitting one of those planes. he's losing hope the much-discussed no-fly zone will materialize. >> no action. just talking. but we have a lot of help coming to us. >> shooting wildly in the air, dancing and singing may be good for morale, they're not, however, having much impact on
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the balance of power. just a few days ago the rebel forces were advancing steadily westward. now it appears that advance has come to a screeching halt and it may be turning in the other direction. >> at least one oil storage tank to the west ruz hit in the fighting by whom it's not clear. this is the first time that libya's oil infrastructure has been damaged. what started as a revolution has become a war. ben wedeman, cnn, ras lanuf, eastern libya. >> and joining us now, nic robertson in tripoli. nic, the fighting is continuing in zawiya, not far from where you are now. you had a personal experience involving what's going on. share it with our viewers.
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>> well, wolf, on monday we were outside of zawiya. inside the town where we couldn't cross the army. and we could hear heavy anti-aircraft gunfire, small arms fire, artillery fire going on. the following day a doctor told us two doctors were killed in the town. the army was killing civilians rather than giving them medical treatment. we haven't been able to confirm that. it's been impossible to get any update out of zawiya. what has happened on state television we're seeing pro-gadhafi demonstrations from zawiya fronted on the screen now happening in zawiya, live pictures. from what we can see the demonstrations coming from the outskirts of zawiya. the government is keen to get journalists in there.
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it's beginning to look like the government really feels like this. they now want to show that off, wolf. >> these demonstrators not only in zawiya but let's say in tripoli, professing their love for gadhafi. are these rent-a-crowd demonstrators, or are these libyans sincerely in love with gadhafi? >> reporter: it's interesting, wolf. we talked today with somebody who is against gadhafi here. he describes these people as being naive, foolish, poorly educated. he says for 40 years he's managed to instill fear in these people. saying the country will end up in chaos. it's clear that we hear stories that some people are paid to go there.
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it's very hard to prove. if somebody is paying them to go there it certainly seems there's an element that everyone doesn't want to appear less fervent than the last guy. you get a sense it's part coercion and part commitment. it's the type of people who don't want to seem to be letting the sight down. they don't know what they may mean for them. >> some of them are afraid if they don't do it they could be in trouble. finally, there seems to be new diplomatic outreach that the libyan regime is now undertaking. what are they doing? >> that's right, wolf, they're extremely frustrated they can't get any response from britain, france, germany, other countries who they've asked to send fact finding teams to libya to look at the claims of aerial bombardment and massacres. they can't get a response. now they're sending the secretary of state for international cooperation,
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sending him not only to portugal, but to greece and malta as well. they want him to go to other countries. this is this libyans making outreach to try to get their message heard. so it's clear the international heat is having an effect. they want to get their voice heard in the international community again, wolf. >> nic robertson on the scene for us as he has been for the several weeks. thanks very much. nick is in tripoli. there are other signs pro-gadhafi forces are gain on the battlefield. and there's other information as well that we're getting including fresh violence today in cairo's tahrir square. the epicenter of the egyptian protest movement that forced president hosni mubarak from power last month. that follows attacks late yesterday on pro-democracy activists by people armed with machetes, knives and whips. 44 people were injured. and state-run egyptian television now says 13 people were killed in separate clashes overnight between christians and
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muslims in cairo. the clashes broke out as christians protested last week's burning of a church. . zbli he was in the forefront of the pro-democracy movement that forced hosni mubarak to step down. now mohamm el barr he's calling new constitution for egypt as opposed to amending the current document. he's the head of the nuclear watchdog agency. jack kcafferty is here with the cafferty file. >> we're in a tough spot, the united states. very tough spot when it comes to libya. president obama has taken some heat for not being more vocal on what's going on there. the white house repeatedly said they're weighing the options.
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we've been waiting for a while now. the president is walking a bit of a tight rope if the u.s. were to act unilaterally. no matter how noble the cost of them fighting for freedom we would be seen as interfering in the internal affairs of a muslim nation. president obama is not saying much publicly. he's had strong words for gadhafi telling him to step down. and gadhafi is still there. in the meantime, secretary of state hillary clinton emerged as the mouthpiece for the administration. she traveled to geneva and met with top ldiplomats to discuss options in libya. clinton told sky news they want to see the international community support a no-fly zone. she also said it was important the united states decide what to do about the conflict in libya, the united nations, rather, not the united states. some of the president's top aides were scheduled to meet to talk about the situation in libya. they included the secretary of
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state, hillary clinton, cia director leon peneta and mike mullen, the chairman of the joint chief of staffs. but the president of the united states, the commander in chief, not scheduled to attend. when it comes to libya, who has a stronger voice, hillary clinton or barack obama? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and give us your thoughts. >> jack cafferty, thanks very much. as libya's civil war heats up, so deduz the debate over a no-fly zone. we'll get his views. republican senator john mccain is also a former military pilot. he's strongly in support of a no-fly zone over libya right now, at least parts of it. he's here in "the situation room" this hour. he'll explain why. straight ahead, a new sex abuse scandal rocking a major catholic diocese.
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what comfort tastes like. the sex abuse scandal that rocked the catholic church is now roaring back to life in philadelphia where 21 priests were put on leave in connection with suspected abuse cases. mary snow is in philadelphia right now. the arch bishop talked about the scandal in today's ash wednesday
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service. what's going on, mary? >> reporter: wolf, today the 21 priests put on leave were named as individual churches told parishioners who was on the list. they say the number of suspensions in a single day is unprecedented. as the faithful back the basilica, cardinal justin regali addressed the sex abuse scandal within his ranks. >> we are especially conscious of the grave sins of sexual abuse committed against minors, in particular ly by members of the clergy. churnls throughout philadelphia learned if their priests were among 2 t 21. several others would have been included, says the diocese, but
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one was already on leave, two incapacitated and two no longer in the diocese. >> once again, we renew our commitment to make every effort possible to prevent these evil acts and to protect children from harm. >> protesters representing victims of sexual abuse by priests weren't swayed by the cardinal's apology. >> we think it's belated. it's the bare minimum. >> reporter: last month a grand jury report concluded 37 priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse. three priests were charged with alleged sexual assault of minors. a church leader responsible for investigating a abuse reports was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. of the rest, regali at the time assured none were still active. but just days later, three priests were put on leave. around the same time, the cardinal hired former prosecutor gina smith, who has experience in child abuse cases to
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investigate, which led to the additional suspensions. gai david gibson calls the action unprecede unprecedented. >> they're almost at a tipping point. people are so fed up and so suspicious. they have no idea what the church, meaning the hierarchy is up to, that they have to take swift, dramatic action. >> and some of the catholics attending the cardinal's service say these are trying times for them. >> it is a horrible thing. it's a shameful thing. but it's something that we'll get through. >> it's going to be a long time before i can face my priests and the people who run my parish and know that they weren't involved or didn't have some say in what happened in this. that's where it rattles me the most. >> reporter: and this isn't the first time there's been a grand jury report details allegations of child sex abuse by a priest. there was another report back in
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2005. and bishopaccountability.org, which tracks these abuse cases, say what's different here is the d.a. by ways of the grand jury followed up to see what the die sei diocese here in philadelphia is doing, and that raises questions about what other diocese around the country is doing. >> what happens next to these priests, mary? >> reporter: what happens now is these 21 priests who were put on leave yesterday t district attorney says that in these cases the statute of limitations have run out. now it's up to the church to discipline these priests if it's going to continue its investigation. the d.a. also said if any other victims come forward with allegations that are within the statute of limitationlimitation. will prosecute. the former pilot is speaking out to cnn about imposing a no-fly zone over the country
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right now. plus senator john mccain is leading the push for a no-fly zone. he's here in "the situation room" this hour. impressive resume. thank you. you know what, tell me, what makes peter, peter ? well, i'm an avid catamaran sailor. i can my own homemade jam, apricot. and i really love my bank's raise your rate cd. i'm sorry, did you say you'd love a pay raise asap ? uh, actually, i said i love my bank's raise your rate cd. you spent 8 days lost at sea ? no, uh... you love watching your neighbors watch tv ? at ally, you'll love our raise your rate cd that offers a one-time rate increase if our current rates go up.
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as the death toll rises in libya, a rebel leader pleading to quickly impose a no-fly zone. 25 years after a u.s. air strike against the gadhafi regime, a key insider on that mission explains what it would take. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is working the story for us.
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she has more. barbara? >> wolf, defense secretary robert gates has been saying for days that a no-fly zone over libya amounts to combat. i talked earlier today to a retired naval officer who has actually done it. it's been done before. in the no-fly zone over iraq, u.s. war planes patrolled for over a decade, bombing targets, trying to keep the iraqi military boxed in. retired admiral john nafman commanded piloting flying the missions. it wasn't always easy. >> in southern iraq we tried to blow up one of these sector operation centers probably ten different times. >> reporter: then ask nathman about libya. a 1986 bombing led to a u.s. retaliatory strike. nathman flew the lead f-18 fighter jet over libya. u.s. fighters fired missiles.
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>> i remember seeing one of them going off about ten miles off my nose, which blew up a brand new site just put in place by the libyans. >> he says the libyans were overwhelmed. >> i don't think the libyans had us on radar. i think they were surprised. it was obvious we had caught them by surprise. you know, we were 200 feet above the sea, mediterranean sea. we had our radars off. we had our lights off. it was all done on timing. the tactical part of it was beautifully synchronized. beautifully done. >> they haven't updated the anti-aircraft much in the decade since his mission. there's still a threat to running a no-fly zone operation. >> it's actually a very good system. >> even if most of the military targets are right along the coast. >> their radars can reach hundreds of miles over the coast so they can see the nato forces coming into their country. >> attacking aircraft would quickly find themselves over the
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desert trying to fight against a complex air defense system now behind them. a system provided years ago by the soviets, nathman says don't count it out. >> but we're going to have to bring in big intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. those will probably have to come out of afghanistan or iraq. we'll have to bring in electronic aircraft, either stripping them from aircraft carriers in other theaters like korea. or the persian gulf. those are very important areas right now in terms of stability for the united states. and maybe strategicalically mor important to what's happen npg the country of libya itself. >> and there may be other problems. >> how do you decide at night that that helicopter is a libyan military helicopter carrying out operations against the rebels, or is it a civilian helicopter providing resupply to the oil platforms? >> and in the end, what would really be accomplished by a
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no-fly zone? remember, years after no-phone line zones operations in iraq, the u.s. still had to go to war to get saddam hussein out of power. >> a lot of us remember the 1986 air strike against libya. one fighter jet, two crew members were lost. >> absolutely. u.s. air force, f1-11 plane was shot down. he said bob gates is right. this will be combat. don't think it will be easy. don't think it's just flying over libya and telling them not to launch the fighter jets. there be a price to pay. >> we'll get a different perspective coming up. should the u.s. and allies impose a no-fly zone over libya? and who should be in charge? senator john mccain is here in "the situation room" with a very different perspective. standby. and an outspoken congressman about to begin controversial hearings on the so-called radicalization of muslim-american communities. could his investigation backfire? and a stunning announcement coming in from npr, just a day after an npr executive was
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and joining us now, senator john mccain is the ranking member of the senate armed services committee. senator, listen to what the secretary of state, hillary clinton said this morning as to a possible military option in libya. >> the british and french governments are going to the united nations with a draft resolution that would authorize international action. we think it's very important that there be a u.n. decision on whatever might be done. >> now the white house press secretary jay carney wouldn't go that far, but do you agree the secretary of state that the united nations needs to authorize any u.s. military action in libya? >> i do not because i think it's most likely, some people say absolutely sure that the russians and chinese or either or both would veto any such resolution in the un security council. in some ways it could be a nonstarter. i do think there are other
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options, especially nato. but there are other coalitions of the willing that perhaps could be formed and we have intervened in other parts, in other crises without the united nations security council approval. it would be nice to have, but it's very unlikely. >> what if there's no nato authorization? nato requires y-- >> it's important to recognize the secretary of state and the president of the united states said gadhafi must go. if they said that and that's united states policy, then it seems to me that one of the determining, not the only, but one of the determining factors in the conflict that's going on right now is whether there should be a no-fly zone or not. it's clear the control of the
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air by the libyan forces has an effect on the battlefield very hard to the anti-gadhafi forces who are pleading for us to impose a no-fly zone, which i do not believe would be nearly as complicated as some would believe. so it's our national policy, and i think a no-fly zone and other actions could be taken that hopefully would prevent further massacre of innocent libyan civilians. >> i want to go through the other actions and the no-fly zone. let me get you on record. you favor a no-fly zone. but that would require first knocking out the air defense capabilities, cratering their runways, taking out some of their other radar equipment. is that right sf? >> i think it may require some of those actions. the first thing, though, is you tell the libyan pilots if they fly, sooner or later, that they're going to die.
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and you will find that has a very remarkable effect on their desire to fly. second of all, the four bases around tripoli are the areas where the air assets are located. so you're not talking about covering all of libya. the maintenance of the aircraft they have is not particularly good. they're not a formidable force. we are the strongest nation in the world. we should be able to take care of the air defenses as well as the air assets without see much difficulty. for ten years we enforce ad no-fly zone over iraq. yes, it takes assets, but we were successful in doing so. >> here's what bill daley, the white house chief of staff said on sunday. i'll play the clip for you. >> lots of people throw around the phrase of no-fly zone. they talk bt ate like it's a video game or something. some people who throw that line out have no idea what they're talking about.
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>> it sounded like he was referring maybe to you. to joe lieberman, to john kerry because you guys have been talking about it. >> well, i'm very tempted to respond to that. i would rather ignore it. >> go ahead and respond. >> no, no. it's a waste of your viewers' time. i think the facts are the president of the united states has said gadhafi has to go. right now the advantage to some degree is with gadhafi forces because of their control of the air and their tanks and superior equipment. and the mercenaries who are there. so if it is our policy that gadhafi must go, then it seems to me some action needs to be taken, for example, a cutting off their jamming their communications, jamming their television capability. and be prepared to have to care for a significant humanitarian
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situation already unfolding. enexplore, as the secretary of state has said, all other options. >> including arming the rebels? >> i think we have to assess that situation. there is a provisional government that's being formed up in benghazi now. the first step would be recognition of the government. and then i think we would have to assess how quickly we could get the weapons, what they need. i don't think there's any doubt right now that they're being outgunned, wolf. >> so you would recognize the opposition many benghazi as the legitimate government of libya? >> absolutely i would. they are within a very short period of time forming a government. i believe headed by the former justice minister. and i think we could extend that recognition to them. absolutely. certainly gadhafi has proven he is ill legitimate.
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>> one final question. it's a question i asked nicholas kristof as well. would it be in the u.s. national interest to simply take out gadhafi right now, have him killed, for example? >> i think it would be in our interest. i think we've shown in the past that is a much more difficult proposition than it initially appears. i would focus my attention on trying to change the battle equation in whatever ways that i could so that the people of libya are not continuing to be massacred. i want to emphasize my opposition to u.s. ground troops in libya because it would be counter productive. >> senator mccain, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me on, wolf. >> let's bring in gloria borger. i know you're talking to sources at the white house and elsewhere, gloria. mccain makes the point if the u.s. were to announce the creation of a no-fly zone, lib
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pilots would be scared out of their minds. they wouldn't fly. >> they would think they would be heading to a certain death. i think the white house wouldn't disagree with that. i mean, they're not saying that no-fly zone wouldn't be effective. but it's clear they don't want to go it alone. they understand the problems with the united states. and "b." they believe it's a lot more complicated than senator mccain obviously believes. for example, how do you know how effective it's going to be? what if someone, a rebel is flying an airplane and you shoot down the wrong person? what if gadhafi's forces have surface to air missiles, which there are reports they do. what if we're shot down? are we prepared for an american to be taken hostage in libya right now? and most of all, do we want to intervene in an arab country right now? the third one. would we want to do that alone?
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absolutely not. so they're trying to get something going with nato behind the scenes so it wouldn't just be an american intervention. >> mccain says the president says gadhafi must go. >> right. >> but if he survives and stays in power, that sort of undermines the united states. it makes the u.s. looks weak. >> it does. he has a real point there. it's clear. the united states did this with egypt. right? president came out, said hosni mubarak must go. guess what? hosni mubarak went. completely different place. the united states would clearly like this to work, like it worked in egypt. that's not the case. they're doing certain things already. they're talking about nato conducting 24 of hour surveillance of libyan air space. enforcing an arms embargo. again, wolf, when you have the nato defense minister meeting, i
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think we may see something come out of that. so the white house would say, look, it's not like we're doing nothing. it's not an either/or situation. >> and you saw the irritation he had with bill daley, the new white house chief of staff. he didn't want to respond, but he held himself back, but you could see he was really irritated. >> i think mccain learned something for running for president. sometimes it's better not to respond. >> thanks very much, gloria. a controversial house hearing on muslim american radicals. is there really a problem. if so, could the hearings make it worse? we're looking at the possible unintended consequences. standby. plus surprising new fallout from a hidden camera sting targeting npr. [ male announcer ] from jet engines that have fewer emissions, to new ways to charge electric cars, to renewable sources of clean energy, ecomagination from ge is advanced technology that's good for both the economy and the environment. ♪ it's technology that makes the world work.
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chairman peter king is facing sharp criticism from muslim american leaders and others ahead of tomorrow's hearings on radicalization of the u.s. islamic community. in addition to the huge uproar, there are real concerns about what happens after the hearings. cnn's homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve is looking into this for us. what are you picking up, jeanne? >> some are asking if it could have the unintended consequences of increasing the radicalized muslims and making them hard to find. >> you're messing with americans now! >> there is already some suspicion and even some hate directed at muslims. there is fear congressman king's hearings could inflame those
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passions and make it less likely muslims will cooperate with law enforcement. >> i don't know if representative king realizes that, but that's the real danger to all of this. >> according to one study in 48 out of 120 terror cases involving muslim-americans it was the muslim community itself that tipped off law enforcement. >> tips we received. information shared is critical to our efforts at disrupting plots that otherwise may have occurred. >> law enforcement officials say the level of cooperation varies from mosque to mosque. at the dulles area muslim society in northern virginia, the imam works alongside the fbi and police to counter radicalization. no matter what comes out of king's hearings, he says that will continue. >> any muslim who hear or see anyone about the to commit a crime, they must and have to
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report it. there is no option. there's no way around this. >> in his congregation are many young men who may fit the stereotype of a terrorist. but several are high-ranking boy scouts. >> are you an all-american kid? >> yep, you know it. >> fft, experts say there's no stereotypical muslim terrorist. those arrested in connection with plots have varied in age, education and sex. some are converts. some are born in the usa. >> the lack of a single profile for the muslim american terrorist suspects make it virtually impossible to suggest who may turn into a terrorist in the future. >> one expert says the most useful thing the king hearing could produce is a commitment to better analyze how radicalization occurs, who is susceptible and how the jihadist
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message can be initialized. some experts fear the hearings have the potential to feed into the jihadist message that the west is at war with islam. and that, they say, could actually increase radicalization. meanwhile, congressman king responded to the attorney's general contention that the muslim community has given law enforcement valuable tips. king tells dana bash, that's not my experience. he says new york is the epicenter of terrorist activity, and he's unaware of any tips in the city or surrounding counties. wolf, back to you. >> we'll have live coverage of the hearings starting tomorrow. thanks very much, jeanne, for that. a stunning announcement from national public radio comes just a day after npr was ambushed by a conservative activist in a sting operation. plus, puff by puff, charlie sheen's career goes up in smoke. jeanne moos is watching. yellowbook has always been crucial to your business,
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fresh fallout from the story we reported yesterday about a hidden camera video sting targeting npr. brian ft. dodge is here with a followup. >> two other shoes dropped today. big shoes. vivian schiller, president and ceo of npr resigned today. the network's board chairman said they accepted her resignation with genuine regret and great respect for her
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leadership. there have been various reports that she was forced out, but an npr spokeswoman said she could not confirm those. this, of course, comes just one day after npr's former senior vp for fund raising, ron schiller, not related to vivian, was calling the tea party racist and scary among other things. it was also announced today ron schiller will not be taking a job at the aspen institute, a prestigious research think tank. was he pushed into that decision? i asked a spokesman for the aspen institute that question. he said in the e-mail the man to whom schiller would have reported said the decision was ron schiller's. two executives losing their positions over this. >> there's all this public radio funding, public broadcast funding from congress. including nfpr. >> in the video ron schiller says npr would be better off without federal funding. the execs repudiate that saying
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they need the funds. this has given ammunition to the house republicans who want to cut them off. they passed a bill to eliminate funding for public broadcasting. here's what eric cantor said today. >> the statements were npr realized it doesn't need taxpayer funding. that's what the statement was about. perhaps the truth finally came out. we'll proceed along those lines. that was said and indicated by that organization. as far as the individual in the statements that he made, i think that they stand for themselves. >> we need to clarify on his remarks. none of the on-air people expressed the view that the network didn't need public funding. and npr executives say his views on that don't reflect theirs. they say they need that federal money and they're worried right now. >> we're learning that o'keefe and his operatives were also targeting another news organization.
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>> it's incredible. a spokeswoman for the public broadcasting service, pbs, said that her network also got approached from those operatives who worked with james o'keefe. they were offering $5 million to npr. she said they were approached for a similar meeting and broke off communications because when they tried to verify the identity of the men's organization, they couldn't confirm it. they posed as operatives for a wealthy muslim charity. they set up a fake weapon site. when pbs couldn't confirm they really existed, they broke things off. >> npr and pbs were targeted. npr targeted more successfully. by the way diane rehm is a guest on john king usa. that's coming up at the top of the hour. she's discuss the scandal for local radio stations across the country. the cafferty file is coming up. then, life's a drag for charlie sheen. jeanne moos looks at his
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right back to jack for "cafferty file," jack? >> when it comes to libya who has the stronger voice, hillary clinton or barack obama? mark writes without a doubt hillary clinton. unfortunately, she can't get that far ahead of the white house message and even worse,
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the white house hasn't yet made up its mind. too bad we don't have an adult in the white house like we do at the state department. ram in california says absolutely the stronger more resolute voice consistently has been hillary clinton's. she warned pressure sheptsly in doha that the foundations of progress in the middle east are "sinking into the sand" and the region faces disaster without real reforms. events starting with tunisia right through egypt have proven her right. raich writes neither. talk is cheap. both obama and clinton can talk till they're blue in the face and the result will be the same. people in libya will still die. giving lip service to the media only builds a stronger case for replacement in the next presidential election. jenny in new york writes they're both doing what's appropriate for their positions and the administration and playing it together perfectly not to stoke anti-americanism. anthony writes i'm not a big fan of clinton's but she has a
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stronger voice. obama has not demonstrated the leadership skills or his professed skills since his campaign. the united states is the greatest nation in the world and we deserve a great leader which we don't have at this time. cal in ohio writes, easy, neither one. dawn says, who knows whose voice is stronger? while we talk, talk, talk, the brave people of libya are dying. for god's sake level the playing field with a no-fly zone. give them a chance. kirk says, who cares? what are we going to do about it anyway? invade. if you want to read more, go to the blog, cnn .com/caffertyfile >> this libya story is not going away at least any time soon. looks like this civil war will be protracted and who knows how long it will go on. >> can you imagine the price that gadhafi will extract if his forces manage to beat this revolt back and he prevails? it'll be awful. >> it'll send a message to a lot of other countries in that region, as well, that, you know
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what, what didn't happen in tunisia, what didn't happen in egypt, the militaries in those two countries basically refusing to kill fellow countrymen. >> right. >> in libya that's not necessarily the case and maybe other leaders will learn that lesson, as well. >> well, and other people who want to revolt for their freedom will probably learn if you can't win for sure, you better be careful. >> yeah, all right, jack see you tomorrow. thanks very, very much. "john king, usa" coming up right at the top of the hour. npr's diane rehm joins john to talk about that hidden camera scandal rocking npr right now. and charlie sheen says he's winning. guess what, all we see is a lot of smoking. jeanne moos is next. >> it's radical and the people are doing exactly what they should be doing. i do. ooh! now who wants some free stuff? [ all ] me! snapple. the best diet stuff on earth.
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charlie sheen says he's winning, winning. i don't know if that's true but i know he's smoking, smoking. >> reporter: no one would ever accuse party boy charlie sheen of being a drag. >> facial or -- >> reporter: but he's been doing nothing but dragging on butts, exhaling, streams of smoke. >> hi ya chuck -- >> reporter: smoking while hugging, smoking while talking. >> built by trolls. phone were built by trolls. >> reporter: pointing while smoking. lighting cigarette after cigarette. putting them out in a glass of would knows what. it used to be don draper who inspired smoking montages.
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♪ smoke spoke smoke that cigarette ♪ >> reporter: on the series "mad men" but some say this mad man is the new poster boy for cigarettes or what he gets crass against cigarettes. >> i like the way you go and see -- why don't you go to -- >> reporter: ew. that gross thing with the cigarette up his nose has spawned imitators from a youtube man to a woman repeatedly snorting regular tobacco smoke. >> it hurt. this is the dumbest thing i've ever dumb. >> reporter: banning smoking outdoors in parks sheen has been puffing away in network interviews and between them he's stalling. >> give me a second. >> reporter: pausing to suck in one last drag before he has to go in. while everyone wonders if he's still on drugs or off, there's one drug habit he's flaunting. >> have you had your breakfast? >> no, i'm smoking a cigarette
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and i'm drinking something i won't reveal. unless they pay me. >> reporter: and to think in the movie "platoon" he played a rookie pot smoker. >> first time? >> yeah. >> reporter: who could barely keep his smoke down. ♪ feed your head >> reporter: oh, he still occasionally complains about his own smoke and verbally assaults his lighter. but some sort of smoking machine, charlie sheen drags and dangles. >> take it or die violently. >> reporter: he makes a cigarette part of his body language. he even had the nerve to show his ash. >> a little bit of smoke between you and the people so that you're just not, you know, overexposing yourself. >> reporter: nice ash, charlie. jeanne moos, cnn. >> everybody wins! >> thanks very much. that does it for